Does anybody have advice for circle walking outdoors on irregular terrain?Most of my practice has been on a hard smooth surfaces such as wood floors or concrete.I am having problems with the transition to mudstepping on irregular surfaces.
I realize that it is a training method ,not to be used in actual fighting,but I find myself outdoors frequently with no regular surfaces to practice on.
You do err when you state "...not to be used in actual fighting..." You are practicing the "mud step" to actually use should you have to fight -- and you're not always going to be faced with a combat situation on a smooth, level, obstacle-free surface. If this were not so, then such a step would be pretty much useless (and its not).
You're just now transitioning from a basic -- beginner's -- use of the step to a more advanced use; it will feel different because it is different; try to find where it's the same & deal with the differences as best as you can -- your body will adapt eventually (given sufficient practice).
One more thing: go slow (at first).
Dear Mike Taylor
"You do err when you state "...not to be used in actual fighting..." "
I have heard several times from different people that this kind of step is just for training purposes and that you use in actual combat the heel to toe step. Is this wrong in from your perspective?
Both are used (can be used) as fighting step methods -- if you are in mud, on an icy surface (especially in smooth-soled dress shoes), or on a slippery (often wet, sometimes soapy)restroom floor when a fight breaks out, then the mud-step way is your most practical way to stay upright/balanced.
It's also good for pinning an opponent's foot (as it allows your whole sole to pin all at once & not just your heel to be followed by the rest of your foot which allows a split second more for an opponent to escape if that opponent senses your intent -- should your heel not do the job by itself; note it also requires less accuracy for success which is always a plus -- especially with a moving target).
My advice .. keep doing it until it feels comfortable in terms of balance and then work on the actual step. I think uneven ground seems to be on of the keys in real development(especially for beginners & idiot's err..like me).
We did a small workshop with John Bracy and one of the things he demonstrated was that root connection and whole body power increased dramatically on uneven ground. Do alot of training outdoors (or with books etc spread on the floor). The idea is to then incorporate that feeling into ordinary practice.
old beijing courtyards were never smooth
Save the Child
I highly recommend practicing with uneven footing.
When my students reach a certain level, I throw a bucket full of thumbtacks, marbles, glass shards and jacks on the hardwood floor in the retirement center where I train them. Mind over matter I tell'em. Mind over matter.
If it weren't for the damned fire codes I'd spruce things up with a bit of slow burning kerosine and some matches to teach them focus.
But I save that for the mountain retreats; like the one I hosted last summer in Los Alamos. Widow Genkins proved my theory that nonagenarians conceal their agility until they absolutely need it. That woman went tearing through the woods like a banshee when her skirt caught fire. Some of the men tried to chase her down, but I just laughed and said, she'll come back when she's hungry. (she disproved that one)
I have to go, I've got a class to teach.
The whole issue of Pa Kua Chang Journal Vol.4,No.6 is dedicated to Ba Gua Zhang's Circle Walk Practice. It discusses walking on irregular surfaces.
The Plum Flower Press (Ba Gua Zhang - Pa Kua Chang) page has certain back issues including this one for purchase.
Does anyone walk the circle backwards?
If so , could you explain why?
If not , why not?
on the left side of the screen, under 'utilities' click on 'search' and search "circle" or "backwards"
It may be done for fun or to work on balance- but in general- Bagua intent is foreward- you may step around or to the side of something- but never backwards.
I spend some time walking backwards in a small to smaller circle using a natural step just as an experiment. Nothing fancy and no turns, just walking. I noticed it became the same as what was called in karate a 'Chinto' pivot. Sort of like a backwards bai bu step, usefull for defensive moves.
Backwards. That's plain stupid. Walkiing in a circle. Why don't you just punch them in the face.
Oh that's right, because Shano thinks he's Kwy chang cainie...
I once experimented with doing segments of Sun-style Ba-Gua forms' footwork backward, but I didn't think of any good reason to continue such a practice.
In Ba-Gua Zhang we prefer to slap 'em silly (or we just prefer to slap 'em, silly).
Circle walking helps to develop useful options. I like having a few options available in tight spots. In Ba-Gua we may not walk backwards, but we walk counter-clockwise, then clockwise (because it's true that one good turn deserves another; and what goes around, comes around).
I just want to ask about what different speeds in circle walking you emphasize to your students and what those different speeds help to develop.
As I was taught, beginners walk slowly (sometimes extremely slowly) so that they can pay attention to their alignments and balance.
Students that have the basics down begin to walk more quickly, normal walking speed. Training at this speed allows you to feel the flow of the movements and the interplay of the changing momentums.
Advanced students can practice even faster, as a test of their agility and balance. But even advanced students can benefit from training slowly at times as well.
The three speeds also correlate with the three traditional methods of practicing the palm changes, Fixed Step, Linked Step and Swimming Body.
Finally, there are different types of steps used, and the depth of the squat during the walking can be varied as well.
Thanks for the information.
Does the size of the circle walked develop different attributes? If so, do students progress from walking a big circle to small?
I have been reading "Effortless Combat Throws" and my understanding and practice of the "internal" martial arts has benefitted greatly from it. Thank you.
Beginners will often walk a larger circle, it's easier to maintain proper alignment and balance (the smaller the circle the more extreme the twist required in the hips).
In most forms of Baguazhang, the standard is an eight step circle (for individual practice). Obviously, if a group of people walk together, the size of the circle will have to be increased accordingly.
From reading Li Zi Ming's book, if I remember correctly, he states something to the effect that whenever moving, the feet should always be picked up and kept with the sole flat. This seems to assume that one should never pivot, slide or shift on the feet without picking them up. IE if the feet move, it's always with a step. Firstly, for those who do the LZM method, is this how you practice? Then, is this recommended by all bagua families or do some others shift etc with feet on the floor? Are there specific cautions that are needed to be aware of when doing so, or specific reasons for not?